Corinne Austin | Personal Training

Food is Medicine

Most of us think too simply about food. We see food as an object that satisfies our hunger; we rarely think of food as the object which keeps our bodies alive and functioning at its optimum.

We all know that prevention is better than cure. But how many of us plan our meals with the goal to nourish our bodies with nutrient-dense foods that will contribute to cellular repair, growth, and disease prevention? Far too many of us don’t even remotely consider this aspect when we plan a meal. And many of us are experiencing, or setting ourselves up to experience, the consequences of poor food choices and habits. Food can be fantastically and therapeutically medicinal. I put a couple of questions to local nutritional guru Rachel Watts of Northland Nutrition to help paint a better picture of food as a medicine…

What is your nutritional philosophy?

‘What you put at the end of your fork is more powerful medicine than anything you will find at the bottom of a pill bottle. Food is the most powerful medicine available to heal chronic disease, which will account for more than 50 million deaths and cost the global economy $47 trillion by 2030. All you need to do is eat your medicine and think of your grocery store or local market as your pharmacy.’

What are the three biggest mistakes people make in regards to their eating habits?

  1. ‘People count calories when they should really be focusing on the nutrient content of the food.
  2. Using FAD diets as weight loss strategies – some FAD diets are great as detox diets but only when done as a part of a long term healthy eating plan and healthy lifestyle.
  3. Over exercising to counter over eating. When you overeat your body into high stress from having to deal with excess food and toxins (especially if you’re eating refined foods or animal fats); intensive exercise on top of this can cause high adrenaline levels in the blood –and this stress is counter productive in weight loss.’

What should we be doing more of and why?

  1. ‘We should be eating more Whole foods – these are foods that are in their natural state – unrefined, un-processed and free of additives and preservatives. Whole foods provide energy for cell function and strengthen and build healthy cells throughout the whole body. For example, veges, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruit.
  2. We should be introducing fast absorbing high nutrient foods into our daily routine. For example Green Juices and Super Food Smoothies. These types of foods are pre-digested (broken down in the blender or juicer), high nutrient, and easily absorbed foods. They efficiently and effectively provide our body with the nutrients and energy it needs while taking the digestive burden away from major organs allowing them to regenerate and heal.’

If you could name one superfood that we should all have in our lives, what would it be? What are it’s benefits and in what ways can we incorporate it into our lives?

‘I can’t name one I have to name 2:

  • Spirulina. It is a whole protein and is the highest protein plant based whole food on the planet. Spirilina helps to protect against cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and allergies, among other things.
  • Maca Powder. This is a must for all wanting more energy (who doesn’t want this?!). Maca Powder balances the endocrine system, which can help pre-menstrual symptoms. It can also help both males and females to regain endurance and mental balance.’

What is your number one guideline in living healthy via nutrition?

‘If you always do what you always done, you will not change. Unless you change what you put in your body, your body will not change. We need to increase whole food nutrients, reduce refined foods (packaged, processed and refined white foods e.g. bread, pasta, white rice) and only then will we feel our energy come back.’

The underlying theme here is that we need to take better responsibility of our own health. Good, healthy foods may cost a little more than the foods of convenience, but wouldn’t you rather spend more of your hard-earned dollars on prevention rather than forking out for drugs, doctors visits, surgeries, and other expensive remedies (I won’t even mention the side effects of some of these!) for ailments and diseases you could potentially have prevented in the first place?

Biggest thanks to Rachel Watts of Northland Nutrition for her professional opinions and input with this article. For comments email or